I’ve not had a lot of time to play with it since last night, so these are essentially knee-jerk reactions. Executive summary – I don’t like it, and I’ve gone back to using 0.38.2. Thankfully that wasn’t uninstalled when I installed 1.0.

The first time you run Tweetdeck 1.0, you are presented with a login screen. Not a twitter login screen, though. A Tweetdeck login screen. You need a Tweetdeck account to use Tweetdeck. Why? If you don’t have one, you have to create a Tweetdeck account before you can use Tweetdeck to access your Twitter account. And this is the official desktop Twitter client from Twitter, now? This makes no sense to me. Isn’t this just adding barriers to use?

Once you get past that hurdle, you are presented with the new style Twitter interface, matching the twitter.com interface and that of the new mobile apps. It looks quite nice, but there’s one glaring problem – no narrow columns. In the old tweetdeck I can easily fit 5 columns across my screen. In the new Tweetdeck I can fit only three. Lots of columns is the main reason I use Tweetdeck. Without that, there’s little point.

That last reason was good enough to send me back to old Tweetdeck so there may well be good things hiding in the new one that I haven’t found yet, and will not find until narrow columns come back. Somebody tell me when, or if, that happens…

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Over the last month or two I’ve seen several discussions about how to decide who to follow and who not to, and to my mind they all make the process much more complicated than it needs to be. Now I realise different people use Twitter differently and want to get different things from it, and that what I do may not work for others, so feel free to ignore this, or at least add contradictory views in the comments…

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On Twitter and Google+ I follow and am followed by people from different communities. There are personal friends, people from my workplace, people from my field of work, and others. When I engage in conversations on Twitter those conversations tend to stay within a particular community of users because the tweets are not visible to others. Google+ is different…

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A number of things, the launch of Google+ among them, have recently prompted me to think about blogging and how, why and where I blog, and more fundamentally about what a blog really is. Before I get to that, a little bit of history…

I started blogging back in 2004, with a blog hosted on the University of Warwick’s in-house Warwick Blogs system. That was really an experiment to see what blogging was all about, and specifically to see if it was a useful mechanism for enhancing communication within my team at work. Once that experiment was over, I carried on, encouraged by a community of people that were using Warwick Blogs and actively reading and commenting on each other’s blogs. My blog turned into a place where I thought out loud about whatever interested me. There was no theme, and no intended audience. I wrote the blog for me. Eventually, I discovered Twitter as an outlet for my random thoughts and I stopped blogging quite so much, and eventually stopped completely. As an attempt to kick-start my blogging I created a new blog – this one – and while I don’t blog quite so much here as I used to on the other blog, I do seem to be just about keeping it going. So far. Now, though, Google+ has arrived and I like it a lot. The ability to write long posts, unlike on Twitter, means that I could easily do all my “thinking out loud” there and not need to blog at all. Or maybe I mean I don’t need a separate blog and that Google+ could be my blog? But what is a blog…

I use Google Analytics on my blogs, and despite there being no significant content on my old blog since 2009 it still gets over 700 visits a month. People clearly are finding the content there useful. Or more likely Google Search is sending them there because it thinks they’ll find it useful. And for me, that is what makes a blog different from an update stream like Twitter or Google+ – permanence. Updates on social networking sites tend to be short lived. That is, people read them within a few hours of them being posted but after that they disappear into history and are never seen again. Even the search on Twitter doesn’t return stuff more than a few days old anymore. One of the most viewed posts on my old blog is one I posted in 2006!

This has convinced me that a blog as a permanent, searchable entity separate from Twitter/Google+/etc. is a useful thing and I’ll carry on doing it. I’m not sure that this self-hosted WordPress blog will stick around. If Google manage to nicely integrate Google+ with Blogger, for example, I could be very tempted to move there. But I will continue blogging somewhere

Google+ is a very new service. It isn’t generally released yet – Google are calling it “early alpha”. It isn’t surprising that there is functionality missing, and that some aspects of the service are a bit rough around the edges. So, as a follow-on to my first thoughts post, and not intended as criticism in any way, here are just a few things that I think need to come at some point. They are in no particular order…

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I know, blogging about Google+ is passé already. I should have done it last week. And anyway, all the clever people have done it already, so what’s the point? Well, thus blog is as much about me thinking out loud as anything else, so, after using Google+ for less that a week, here are some thoughts…

Google+ is Google’s latest attempt at being social, previous attempts being Google Wave and Google Buzz. Wave got a lot of hype for a while, but then everyone lost interest. The technology was amazing, but it was too different and nobody understood what to do with it. Buzz was closer to the mainstream social applications – Twitter and Facebook – but I never really found it engaging enough. Is Google+ any better?

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People occasionally tell me they don’t understand twitter, and in particular don’t see the point of all the “I am doing X” tweets. Why tell the world what you’re up to? Let me tell you a story. Names of people and products have been omitted or disguised but the details are essentially true. Some of you might recognise yourselves, though!

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I used to blog a lot. Ever since I started using Twitter seriously I’ve somewhat neglected by blogging habit. I think this is because my blogging was really just a means of self-expression and Twitter has taken over that function. I do know, though, that people read and appreciated at least some of what was posted on my blog, and I’ve recently been encouraged to try and get back to it. I’m hoping that by setting up a new, self-hosted blog, that will encourage me to try a bit harder. Not that setting up a WordPress blog is that much effort…

It is going to take a little while to get this blog into shape. I’m sure I’ll be playing with themes and other stuff, so don’t expect this to look the same when you come back! I will also try to transfer at least some of the entries from my old blog. In the meantime you can find them all here.

I was just about to write a blog about feeding Twitter into Evernote via the Twitter RSS feeds and an RSS-to-email service when I discovered I had written about it years ago. What I missed out of the blog, though, was the URLs for the RSS feeds. So here they are.

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Facebook places went live in the UK at the end of last week. After a few check-ins “just because” I started thinking about whether or not I would actually use it. I use Foursquare a lot, checking into almost every place I go (with a few exceptions, like my house). But in general I keep that information in foursquare where it belongs. I do not post all my checkins to Twitter too. If I would tweet about the location anyway then I will cross-post, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. I assume my Twitter followers don’t want to know everytime I check-in to my place of work, or to the local DIY store.

And that’s my problem with Facebook Places. If I checked in everywhere I went I’d be spamming by Facebook friends with loads of checkins they aren’t interested in. If I would post something to Facebook anyway about the location, then I will probably checkin to the Place. Mostly, though, I think I’ll be ignoring Places.

If you have a desperate need to know my every move, go find me on Foursquare. That’s where that information is staying…

And that brings me to another reason for not using Facebook Places. I might not want all my Facebook friends to know where I am. I have just about 100 Facebook friends, 600+ Twitter followers but just less than 30 friends on Foursquare. I’m more selective about who gets to see that information, and keeping it separate allows me to be. Facebook Places doesn’t let me be selective, and that’s not a good thing.

So, although I do use LBS a fair bit, in the form of Foursquare, I don’t think I’ll be using Facebook Places. At least not in their current form.

What do you think?

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